Patience Required When Re-homeing Chickens!

When you rescue any animal, be it a chicken or a dog, you expect some different habits and possibly some pretty major difference in the level of known skills.  Challenges are to be expected.

When we recently adopted a momma hen and her five two-week old chicks and they definitely came to us with a lack of what I call, “standard chicken skills!”

Momma in front of sandbox

Clover and her chicklets in front of the chicken duster area.

Clover, apparently does not know how to eat from a chicken feeder nor does she want to go into her safe coop at night. She also does not want to go up and down the chicken gangplank. She eats nothing but cracked corn; no vegetables, no fruits, nothing else. Even when I threw her a worm she did not know what to do with it. This sure makes the nightly shut up a big problem.

White baby can't get out

The little white chick can’t figure out how to get out of the under the coop opening.

Now on the positive side she is an extraordinary momma, taking care of her babies and watching out for them but still it’s been quite a challenge for us.

We are still catching her every night after dinner in the fishing net, which from any of you who keep chickens cause quite a big “to do” and a lot of chicken trauma. I am hoping that as her babies get bigger they will be able to go up the gangplank to go to bed on their own at night….we shall see about that.

Since apparently I don’t speak the right chicken language (apart from my chick..chick..chick sounds when I throw out some cracked corn/mixed in with my preferred organic layer feed) it’s taking her a while to catch on to some of the behaviors I consider “normal” for an adult chicken.

VERT momma corner nr pool house jpeg

Clover like scratching for bugs in the corners of her coop.

Today’s big growth…was figuring out how to go under the coop (which sits on 2 X 4” stilts) and eating from the chicken feeder filled with the organic layer feed – Hooray!

Even though they are tiny, four of the five babies figured out quickly how to hop/fly over the 2” X 4” but the one little white one can not. I think the white one has an intelligence or neurological problem (it goes around in circles when it gets upset) and never does figure out on its own how to get up and over. Finally we removed a brick providing a space for it to walk through and in it went, amid a whole lot of frantic peeping going on.

The importance of this step is that if we get a sudden rain storm the girls can find a place more or less out of the rain on their own until I get out there to help them and the feed has a place to stay dry.

I’m discovering that a lot of patience is required when adopting or re-homing chickens!

Small House Homestead chicken keeper, Donna




4 thoughts on “Patience Required When Re-homeing Chickens!

  1. Yes and every batch is different with a different personality. I became momma for clutch of 6 babies in January-they were wonderful to raise and were really easy to train up gangplanks and how to roost. Fully grown roosters now-they still practically sit on my lap when I sit in the pen for a bit. However this new batch I got has been a completely different beast. I’ve had 2 weak chicks that didn’t make it, strange growth patterns and difficult training. I can’t wait to get them outside full time so I can get my laundry back!


    • Thanks for sharing your story. It’s good to hear that I am not alone in this endeavor. Do you mind telling me how you trained your babies to go in and out of the gangplank? They go down it well, sort of a slide, hop and then fly to the ground but no one, not even Clover the momma will go back up it. I admit it is steep but it has the little horizontal bars across it to help with footholds. I am imagining the babies will eventually get big enough to manage it but I am a bit concerned that by the time that happens they will be acclimated to not doing it themselves. You know how chickens are creature of habit!!


      • I train them to go up with grain spread up the gang plank. Though saying that the first batch of chicks I had trained very easily (possibly because I spent a lot of time with them), the second batch of chicks were painfully slow to train. I’m not sure whether they weren’t as intelligence or my bond wasn’t as strong with them.


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